Gulf of Mexico Oil Industry Is in ‘Slow’ Recovery, Hunting Says

The Gulf of Mexico’s oil industry is beginning to recover, Hunting Plc (HTG) said, after the worst U.S. oil spill last year cut the number of rigs in the region by a third.

“The recovery is slow but it’s there,” said Peter Rose, chief financial officer of the London-based provider of services and equipment for rigs. “Regulators are taking their time issuing permits. The cost of drilling and exploring in the Gulf has gone up and will go up.”

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has approved permits for 19 new wells since U.S. President Barack Obama in October lifted a moratorium on deepwater drilling. Hunting, operating in China, the Middle East and Africa, this month said it bought the Texas-based Titan Group to expand in unconventional oil and gas extraction, in which rocks are blasted with steam and chemicals.

Hunting’s first-half profit rose 80 percent to 15.3 million pounds ($25 million), from 8.5 million pounds a year before. The company fell 1.1 percent to 649.5 pence by 10:19 a.m. in London.

The Macondo well, operated by BP Plc, spewed almost 5 million gallons of oil into the Gulf last year. There were 34 oil rigs in the region last week, compared with more than 50 before the spill, according to Baker Hughes Inc.

To contact the reporters on this story: Brian Swint in London at bswint@bloomberg.net; Charles Mead in London at cmead11@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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